Didn’t we all grow up with the notion that fish was classified as brain food? Maybe not officially written up as such in journals expounding daily food requirements, but it was most definitely the gospel according to the lady of the house – Mom.
In fact, for some time now, it has been frequently reported that omega-3 fatty acids are just plain good for you. Ask any health food practitioner whose shelves display gel caps and liquid formulae for the purpose of keeping our DHA levels topped up. This good fat is commonly found in fish, especially salmon and sardines. Indeed, there are other good fats too, such as corn and sunflower oils; however, these speak more to heart health than brainpower.
Docosahexaeonic acid, or DHA, is one of the omega-3 fatty acids discovered to promote healthy synapse activity in the brain. Essentially, DHA is particularly helpful in promoting memory and learning, as well as enhancing reaction times, motivation, and maybe reducing stress.
In September, it was reported through a recently released Canadian study that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids could help keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay. Frédéric Calon, a molecular endocrinology researcher at Laval University, said of the reported findings, “The public needs to take from this that diet matters to your brain.” In support of the report, Calon said, “If you have a diet that is poor in omega-3s, that will accelerate the process of Alzheimer’s, especially if you’re genetically predisposed.”
Don’t abandon your corn and sunflower oils because they do promote good health; it is reported, though, that they’re only part of the brain’s healthy equation in that they contain omega-6s. A balance of omega-3s and omega-6s are recommended for brainpower. Specifically, canola and walnut oil provide omega-3s.
Additional foods and supplements to bear in mind whilst reworking your grocery list are: eggs, B vitamins, choline, amino acids, Ginkgo Biloba, and water, to name a few. Always water, because water is key to the electrical firing of the brain.
Anyone considering adding to their diet the likes of choline, amino acids, Ginkgo Biloba or other brain enhancing supplements should do their homework and consult a physician or pharmacist. One never knows when two seemingly harmless supplements and/or prescriptions may conflict and cause less than desirable side effects or negate the effects of one another.
Now, in the event there are those readers who shudder at the thought of consuming fish, try this tasty treatment for salmon. Use as many thawed filets as needed, with skin removed. Place the filets in a plastic food bag and add maple syrup, soy sauce, lemon or limejuice, garlic and ginger to cover the salmon. Marinate for as much as a day or as little as a couple of hours. Grill indoors or on the barbeque on medium heat for approximately four minutes a side. Add some freshly steamed asparagus and a bright pinot grigio and call it a day!